Communists Eat Their Class Enemies
by Adam Young
Just prior to the second world war, the leftist author Nicolas Calas appealed for "more sadism amoung leftists," and advised "comrades, be cruel." That a communist would say this probably won't surprise many. The stories of the many crimes and atrocities perpetrated by Communist regimes is generally well-known, but what about state-sponsored cannibalism? Time Magazine ran such a story in its January 18th, 1993 issue, titled "Unspeakable Crimes," by Barbara Rudolph. In it is the testimony of a Chinese scholar that during Mao's "Cultural Revolution" local officials of the Chinese Communist Party exhorted their comrades to devour u2018class enemies.'
The details were revealed by Zheng Yi, a fugitive of the Tiananmen Square massacre and once China's most-celebrated young novelist (his first novel, The Maple, about the Cultural Revolution, was used by the Politburo to attack The Gang of Four). His third novel made him a celebrity in the China of the 80's and he and his wife both joined the pro-democracy movement. After the crackdown, his wife Bei Ming was imprisoned for 10 months and he went into hiding for nearly 3 years until both were able to successfully escape to Hong Kong and then onto the US.
Writing while on the run, Zheng Yi managed to write two books detailing the information that he had about state-sponsored cannibalism in the Guangxi Autonomous Region in southern China. Eventually the two manuscripts were smuggled out of China with the aid of Australian tourists. Managing to recover several reports and documents that were prepared in the mid-80's but covered up to spare exposing those involved who were then still in power in Guangxi, even though this ran counter to Deng Xiaoping's orders, designed to discredit Maoism, to publicize atrocities associated with Mao's rule, the documents reveal that local party leaders incited locals to kill "class enemies" and then feast on them in public ceremonies.
The documents refer to "eating people as an after-dinner snack … barbecuing people's livers … banqueting on human meat." Several episodes of this are also recounted: "On May 14th, 1968, a group of 11, led by the Wei brothers captured a man named Chen Guorong and killed him with a big knife before cutting out his liver. They shared the human meat with 20 participants."
Also in May, Wu Shufang, a teacher at the Wuxuan Middle School, was beaten to death and her liver was roasted and eaten. In June, three members of the Li family were killed by their neighbor, Huang Chihuan, who then cut out their livers and brought them to Yu Yuerong, who roasted them, cut them into portions and packed them into nine separate bags to be distributed as medicine.
In 1968, 91 members of the local Communist Party were expelled on charges of involvement in cannibalism, but none were criminally punished.
Zheng Yi first heard the rumors about the cannibalism when he himself was a member of the infamous Red Guards in northern Guangxi, but was skeptical. Years later he began investigating them, even so far as visiting Guangxi twice, where local officials allowed him to read the Party investigation reports on cannibalism in Guangxi, but also to interview eyewitnesses.
Interviewing witnesses in Shanglin county, the residents recounted how one man had his abdomen sliced open and had his liver removed while he was still alive. An old man named Yi Wansheng, told how he had killed a landlord's son. "I used a knife to cut him. The first knife was dull, so I threw it away. With another knife I was able to open his chest. But when I tried to pull out his heart and liver, the blood was too hot for my hand and I had to bring some water to cool it. When I took the organs out, I cut them to pieces and shared them with the people of the village."
Zheng says that he interviewed dozens of people who confessed to eating human flesh, as well as having interviewed the relatives of their victims, hundreds of victims in all.
The TIME story mentions that there is no evidence that Mao himself knew that these acts of Party-orchestrated cannibalism contributed victims to the millions killed during the Cultural Revolution, or that other than Zhou Enlai ordering party officials to put an end to the eating, that any steps were taken to punish the perpetrators or stop the killings, which persisted for much of the decade of the Cultural Revolution.
In fact, in the materials unearthed by Zheng Yi, at the time the Communist inner circle in Beijing is said to have been deeply concerned about what was going on in Guangxi. An old apparatchik told Zheng that he had reported the extent of the murders to Premier Zhou Enlai, who in turn sent word to the provincial army chief to warn the local party boss that "if one more man is eaten, I will kill you."
But the warning was not heeded and in the end, nothing was done, Zheng believes, because the atrocites were too heinous for the Party to even publicly denounce them. But, Zheng Yi believes, "the top leadership has known about it all along."
Need there be any further evidence that the absolute power of the state brings out the absolute worst in human nature?